Thamari Kund: Trailing nature in Munsiyari, Uttarakhand

  An ambitious start to the day, with its target being a trek to Khalia Top, a full day trek which was reputedly strongly uphill. My weak knees are already quivering with trepidation. Our guide for the day arrives. Z- a rather young, bearded guy with the look of a serious mountaineer. Can I be more…

“Stupa-fied” in Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan is the quintessential image of Myanmar – its own Eiffel Tower. The beauty of Bagan is most often represented in its plurality. An air balloon-view. 3000 temples and stupas rising out of the plains, a rising sun casting its orange spotlight on them all. But strangely, the multitudes didn’t catch my eye. What drew me…

Meeting Ma Durga in Mandalay, Burma

Durga Puja in Mandalay. In an Indian basti. A surreal experience. It started with a visit to one of the Buddhist temples, Mahamuni Pagoda, in Mandalay when we ran into some astrologers of Indian origin. While we were initially not eager to engage in a conversation with them, we were requested to come in and…

Tea-time history at Jorhat

A 3 hour flight lands me at Guwahati from where begins a long drive to Jorhat and further on to the innards of rural Assam. I drive past golden paddy fields lit by the golden rays of a setting sun. The fields are manned by peasants hard at work during the harvest season, with gamchas…

Majuli – birds, satras and tribes

This is my first trip to Assam and both my husband and I were unanimous in picking Majuli as our must-see destination in Assam. Majuli is locally the title holder of the largest river islands in the world, but more likely the largest only in India. Nestled as it is between the channels of the…

Baby Taj – Memories of the “Cushion-cover” Empress

My trip to Agra sat on the shelf for several years. More exotic destinations won over the beauty of the Taj and the benefits of proximity. The trip finally got fixed, goaded by a desire to get away from truckloads of work and also to spend time with my 6 month old nephew on his…

Diwali shopping opens my eyes

I unexpectedly experienced a tourist like moment in my own city, Mumbai. In fact, in my own backyard – the worli bazaar. A typical Indian market, the only reason I made quick, rushed visits to this bazaar was to pick up flowers. Beyond that, I had little reason to lounge around. After all, the bazaar…

Kashmir

I land at the airport, unusually greeted by the sight of army bunkers, armed troops and a strange excitement in my heart at the prospect of having made my first trip to Kashmir. Kashmir holds the title of the most romantic destinations in India – glorified of course by the bollywood of the 70s. Its…

Maldives

Starry nights. The most clear skies that one can imagine. Uncountable stars, so densely scattered across the sky as to render any sense of a constellation impossible. Eid ka chand – the rare, perfectly shaped crescent moon of ramadan shines bright. Walking alone alongside the beach. A lonely walk. The soft rumblings of the gentle…